Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

Tips For That First Roots Journey

A few pieces of advice for teens embarking on a summer maiden voyage to the Jewish state (Birthright, not included).
Travel Writer
05/13/2013 - 20:00

When my cousin went to Israel on a teen tour  20 years ago, she came home raving about the experiences she’d had: the taste of fresh pita, the surprising contrasts in landscape, the day spent hanging with soldiers in Israeli Defense Forces.

Camel riding during Young Judaea’s Year Program. Photo courtesy Young Judaea/NFTY

The Keys To Florida

05/13/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Like many foreigners, my husband, Oggi, was intrigued by the Florida Keys, a singular geography that has no European equivalent. Every year during the Florida family trip, I’ve promised him that we’ll drive all the way down to Key West. This year I finally delivered.

It looks much the same as the last time I visited — in the mid-’80s, with my dad at the wheel. My dad likes to talk about the old U.S. Route 1: how it was the Maine-to-Florida highway when he was growing up, before they built the Interstate. According to him, U.S. 1 hasn’t changed much.

Bicycling on Duval Street, Key West’s main commercial drag. Hilary Larson

Jewish Culture North Of The Border

05/06/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Toronto is one of those cities that people who live there rave about. They’ll tell you about the cultural diversity, the fabulous ethnic food, the great public transit.

The Toronto skyline at night. A flurry of Jewish festivals defines spring in Canada’s cultural capital.

An Art Nouveau Spring

04/29/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Prague spring blossoms with the curlicued flowers and vines of Art Nouveau.

The Art Nouveau façade of the Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague. Photo courtesy

Jewish History On The Gulf

04/22/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Spring blows into Galveston Island on a warm Gulf breeze. By April, these peaceful golden shores are basking in 70-degree afternoons, with native seabirds circling overhead and lazy ripples spreading from the fishermen’s lines. Weekend traffic is starting to get heavy: Houston is just a 40-minute drive away.

A row of candy-colored homes dot Galveston’s historic East End. Photo courtesy Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

Reveling In The Slow Pace Of Deerfield

Far from South Beach, Cel-Ray and shuffleboard with the grandparents make for a relaxing, low-key Florida vacation.
04/15/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

“Where are you headed?” asked my seatmate on the flight from Madrid
to Miami.

Deerfield Beach, an hour north of Miami, is a site of low-slung bungalows and 1940s budget motels.

Belgium’s Capital Of Culture

04/08/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

The group at the next table is chattering away in something that sounds like German, but maybe it’s not. Swiss-Deutsch?

Dancers at the Balkan Trafik Festival, perhaps Europe’s largest festival of Balkan music. Photo courtesy Balkan Trafik Festival

Tips For Studying Abroad

04/02/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

When I was in college in the 1990s, study abroad was still a fairly marginal activity — about as common as majoring in classics.

Salamanca, in northwestern Spain, is a perennial destination for students learning abroad. Photo courtesy Salamanca Tourism

The Land Of ‘Shaloha!’

03/18/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Why Maui?

For thousands of Hawaii vacationers, the island of Maui is the happy medium. It is lovely and unspoiled, but not so unspoiled as Kauai, widely regarded as the prettiest isle but sparse on nightlife. Like Oahu, Maui has great restaurants and plenty to do, but it is less built-up and retains the lazy vacationer’s pace.

Singers at a luau in Maui. Amy Larson

The Fiesta Season

03/11/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Siesta and fiesta: they are the rhyming clichés of the carefree Spanish lifestyle. And nowhere are the midday pause and nocturnal festivities more evident than in Barcelona, Spain’s party capital.

Pyramid scheme: Festa revelers in the Major de Gracia neighborhood. Turisme de Barcelona
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